Maybe you have found out that you have a high chance of developing type 2 diabetes, the most common type of this disease. Maybe you are overweight or a father, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes. Maybe you had gestational diabetes, which is what appears during pregnancy. These are just a few examples of the factors that can raise the likelihood of suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and eye and foot problems. Prediabetes can also cause health problems. The good news is that it is possible to delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the likelihood of suffering from health problems; therefore, delaying the onset of diabetes even a few years is beneficial for health. You can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes if you lose a moderate amount of weight by following a meal plan with reduced calorie intake and doing physical activity most days of the week. Ask your doctor if you should take metformin, a diabetes medicine that helps prevent or slow down type 2 diabetes.
How To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
Research, like the one done by The Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Program, shows that much can be done to reduce the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes. Here are some changes you can make to lower your risk:
- Lose weight and do not increase it again. You can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes if you lose 5 to 7 percent of your initial weight.2 For example, if you weigh 200 pounds (90 kg), your goal would be to lose approximately 10 to 14 pounds (4.5 to 6). kg).
- Move more. Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have been inactive, ask your doctor which activities are best for you. Start slowly and move forward until you achieve your goal.
- Eat healthy food most of the time. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you consume each day and thus help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
2. Move More
Physical exercise to prevent type 2 diabetes:
Practicing physical exercise on a regular basis provides numerous benefits: it improves cholesterol levels, blood pressure, helps control body weight and, especially, improves insulin resistance, a key factor in the development of diabetes. It also provides psychological benefits such as decreased levels of anxiety or increased self-esteem and self-confidence.
For many years now, studies have shown that those people who exercise regularly develop fewer cases of type 2 diabetes than those who remain sedentary, especially in those who are already at high risk of diabetes.
What type of exercise is recommended?
The main objective is to increase our global energy expenditure. Therefore, any physical exercise will bring interesting health benefits. We must try to be more active in our day to day, that is, increase our usual physical activity at home or at work and be supplemented with some exercises of an aerobic nature, such as walking fast, riding a bicycle, swimming or hiking. These are the exercises that consume more glucose while they are performed and therefore have a greater preventive effect of type 2 diabetes.
How much physical exercise is necessary?
When exercising, not only glucose is consumed but also muscle fibers are stimulated giving them the ability to transport glucose into the cells. The same effect as insulin occurs. These effects occur when the physical exercise performed lasts more than 30-60 minutes.
In addition, this effect can last up to more than 12-24 hours after the end of the activity. Therefore, it is recommended to perform physical exercise daily or at least on alternate days, in order to make the most of this effect of the exercise in the following hours.
How to perform the exercise?
Physical exercise should be included as one more activity in our weekly schedule. Ideally, it will be a pleasant activity, which also helps to relax and eliminate anxiety or stress acquired during the day to day.
However, we now know that the greatest prevention of diabetes occurs when exercise is performed at moderate intensity. If we walk or do static bicycle at a very smooth pace we will obtain some health benefits but the effect on glucose consumption will not be too important. One method to control the intensity at which the exercise is practiced is to measure the heart rate. We can do this very simply by measuring the radial (in the wrist) or carotid (in the neck) pulse or more precisely by using devices called heart rate monitors. These can be found in sports stores at increasingly affordable prices.
To perform the exercise at moderate intensity should be kept close to 70% of the maximum heart rate of each person. This maximum heart rate depends fundamentally on the age of each person.
Below you can find a table that shows the recommended heart rate according to the age at which the physical exercise should be performed:
|Age (in years)||Heart rate (beats per minute)||Age (in years)||Heart rate (beats per minute)|
In case you do not want or can control the heart rate there is a system easier to adapt to anyone.
It is called the “Speech Test”. It is that, when doing aerobic activities such as walking or cycling, you must maintain a rhythm in which you notice that you begin to slightly lose your breath. Of course, without getting to feel choked or with difficulty breathing. It is called a speech test because at that intensity you could talk while doing the exercise but you will need to pause while talking to get some air.
Maintaining this intensity of exercise is very important in the prevention of diabetes because it is at this intensity when the body begins to use more glucose to perform muscle activity. Thus, when we start to lose our breath, it is the sign that the organism tells us that it begins to burn a good amount of glucose to perform that activity.
Should you avoid some type of physical exercise?
Especially in those people who are currently sedentary and want to start practicing physical exercise, at the beginning, they should avoid those exercises of high intensity (above the recommended heart rate).
On the other hand, it is advisable to avoid those activities called high impact, such as running, jumping, etc. in those people with significant overweight or who already suffer osteo-articular problems. In these cases, it will be better to carry out activities with much less impact, such as those performed in the water, such as aquagym, or others such as gymnastics or working with weights.
3. Eat Healthy Food
Food to prevent type 2 diabetes:
Another fundamental point in the prevention of diabetes is the care of food. Good food control reduces the likelihood of diabetes while helping to prevent other disorders such as hypertension or cholesterol increases usually associated with diabetes and increase the possibility of cardiovascular disease.
Does excess weight increase the risk of type 2 diabetes?
Clearly yes. Excess weight, especially when it is distributed in the abdominal area increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, diet, along with physical exercise, is one of the essential tools.
It is important to consider the great difficulty of losing weight and, especially, to maintain the lost weight in the long term. Although the recommended reduction is around 5-10% of body weight, in a recent study, less than 10% of the subjects studied had managed to maintain losses of 5-10% of the weight after only one year of follow-up.
What kind of food is recommended?
Traditionally, the recommended dietary pattern to prevent type 2 diabetes has been the classic diet called hypocaloric. This tries to reduce the total calories of the diet, based on restricting mainly the amount of fats and protein foods in the diet and maintaining a greater proportion of foods rich in carbohydrates.
In recent years several studies are providing data that indicate that other types of food guideline may be more beneficial than this traditional hypocaloric guideline.
Recently it has been found that the Mediterranean diet reduces the number of new cases of diabetes by 50% more than the traditional hypocaloric diet. Attention, following a hypocaloric diet is still considered a good option to prevent type 2 diabetes, but it seems that the Mediterranean style of eating, either using olive oil or nuts, would be even more beneficial.
Other studies published in recent years provide another possibility. It is about following diets with lower carbohydrate content than traditional diets. Consists of models of balanced and healthy diet but in which the quantity and frequency of those foods richer in carbohydrates such as sugars and sweets but also flours such as rice, pasta, potato, legumes, bread and cereals are reduced. On the contrary, it tends to increase the amount of protein foods (such as meats, fish or eggs) and fatty foods, especially olive oil or other cardio-healthy fats. With these feeding systems with lower carbohydrate content body weight losses are somewhat higher than those achieved with traditional hypocaloric diets so they can be used to reduce body weight and thus reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Should I avoid consuming sugar?
For a long time, the main advice to avoid or treat type 2 diabetes has been to reduce or avoid the consumption of sugars. This is a very important advice but not enough to prevent diabetes. Sugar or sugar-rich foods are usually low-nutritional foods, with a low amount of beneficial nutrients and a high amount of undesirable nutrients such as saturated fat, cholesterol and salt.
But it may not be enough to just eliminate the sugars from the diet. Today we know that those foods that contain a large amount of refined flours, such as white bread, cereals, white rice or pastries are digested and pass into the blood almost as fast as sugars. This contributes to a greater demand for insulin, which is why they would be undesirable foods in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Instead, less refined foods with a higher fiber content should be chosen, such as brown rice or less cereal breads. refined like those of oats, rye or quinoa. This type of flours are digested more slowly, causing a lower effect on the blood glucose values while helping to calm the appetite as they produce a greater sensation of satiety.
How many times a day should I eat?
One of the usual recommendations in the prevention or treatment of diabetes is to eat 5 or 6 times a day. This is based on the fact that if the food is distributed several times throughout the day, the impact on the blood glucose figures is much lower, while at the same time the appetite is moderated somewhat more.
However, it is important to insist that it is a matter of eating 5 or 6 times a day, but to distribute what is already taken as breakfast, lunch and dinner in 5 daily meals.
Ask your health care provider what other changes you can make to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
Most of the time, your best option to prevent type 2 diabetes is to make changes in your lifestyle that work for you in the long term. Start with an action plan to prevent type 2 diabetes.
What should I do if my doctor told me that I have prediabetes?
Prediabetes is diagnosed when blood glucose levels, or blood sugar, are higher than normal, but not enough to make a diagnosis of diabetes. Pre-diabetes is serious because it increases the likelihood that type 2 diabetes will appear. Several of the factors that increase the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes put the person at risk of prediabetes.
Other names for prediabetes are impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance. Some people call prediabetes “borderline diabetes.”
According to recent data and statistics on diabetes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 3 people in the United States have prediabetes. You can not tell if you have prediabetes unless you have a test.
If you have prediabetes you can decrease your chance of developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight if necessary, by doing more physical activity and by following a low-calorie diet plan.
Start your Action Plan to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you want more support, you can find a lifestyle change program in your area through the National Diabetes Prevention Program.
If I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant, how can I reduce my chance of developing type 2 diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and almost always goes away after the baby is born. Although gestational diabetes disappears, You still have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 5 to 10 years. Your baby is also more likely to become obese and suffer from type 2 diabetes later in life. Making healthy choices helps the whole family and can prevent your child from becoming obese or diabetic.
Here are the steps you should take, both for you and your child, if you had gestational diabetes:
- Get tested for diabetes 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born. If your blood glucose level is still high, you may have type 2 diabetes; if it is normal, you should have the test every 3 years to see if you have developed type 2 diabetes.
- Stay more active and eat healthily to return to a healthy weight.
- Breastfeed your baby Breastfeeding gives your baby the right balance of nutrients and helps you burn calories.
- Ask your doctor if you should take metformin, a medicine that helps prevent type 2 diabetes
Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Long-term effects of lifestyle intervention or metformin on diabetes development and micro-vascular disorders over 15-year follow-up: the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology. 2015; 3 (11): 866-875. You can find more information in English about this study on the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study website.